Bush Campaign Lies

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #71: Iraq is Now Becoming an Example of Reform to the Region 

See the previous post for the source and context of this Bush campaign lie.

To be honest, I don't even know what the Bush campaign means when they say Iraq is 'becoming an example of reform'. I'm not going to assume they mean absurd things, like we should topple all non-democratic regimes by force, using far fewer troops than our military experts recommend and without any kind of plan for dealing with the aftermath, and then disband the standing army so the country is full of lots of out-of-work guys with guns. It would be dishonest to assume they meant something like that just so I could make fun of them and poke holes in their claim. That's the kind of juvenile attack the Bush campaign does so well.

But what, exactly, do they mean?

I could also make a few cheap shots about the administration's choice of leaders for Iraq. Is it an 'example of reform' to try to install first an Iranian spy and embezzler as the leader of a free Iraq, and then install a former Ba'athist who summarily executed 6 suspected insurgents immediately prior to taking office? Sounds like the new boss may be a lot like the old boss. So it's almost certain that the Bush campaign doesn't mean that, either.

But what, exactly, do they mean?

Do they simply mean something like, 'Iraq was ruled by a ruthless dictator, but in January there will be free and democratic elections'? That seems a reasonable assumption. But given the current conditions in Iraq, I think the Bush campaign shouldn't be patting itself on the back for --- much less campaigning on --- an event which is still 4 months off and which at this point seems likely to fail.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, Iraq's most powerful Shi'ite leader, is concerned that the elections will be delayed and, when they come, they will be manipulated to favor Allawi and other Iraqi exiles cozy with the United States. If the elections are a sham, or even perceived to be a sham, nationalist unrest and violence will only increase in a country which may already be headed toward civil war. Even Donald Rumsfeld speculates that it may only be possible to hold elections in 3/4 to 4/5 of the country. And this doesn't even take into account the sheer logistical difficulties involved in holding an election. So it's probably a little optimistic, even naive, even dishonest to claim at this point that Iraq is 'becoming an example of reform' to the region.

And this isn't just some terrorist-loving liberal talking, here. Prominent Republicans are also critical of Bush's 'incompetence' in transforming Iraq into an 'example of reform'.

2:07 PM